WARRIORS captain Knowledge Musona is considering his next move after a frustrating time at Belgian league side Anderlecht, a club he joined a year ago.
BY HENRY MHARA IN DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA
The 28-year-old says he plans to move to a club where “he is loved” and is hoping to use the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament in Egypt to open other doors.
Musona still has three years left on his contract with the Belgian giants.
In an exclusive interview with NewsDay Sport in Durban, South Africa, where the Warriors are currently participating in the Cosafa Cup tournament, Musona poured his heart out on what has been a frustrating time at Anderlecht – who will be coached by former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany from next season.
Musona, normally reserved, painted a grim picture of the difficult time he endured at Anderlecht before he was shipped out to Lokeren on loan in the second half of the season.
Asked whether he is looking forward to playing under Kompany, who is leaving the English champions to take up the role of player-coach at Anderlecht, the ever-smiling face of Musona turned glum.
“At the moment, I am not thinking about it (returning to Anderlecht). I will think about it after Afcon. Last year, I did not play that much and, honestly, I wasted a year of my playing career. I did not enjoy it because of the way I was treated at the club. When you are a football player and you go into a team and you are not given a chance, it is always difficult to look forward to the next season because you don’t know what the people are planning for you. That is something I have to think hard about after Afcon,” Musona said.
Musona signed a four-year contract with the former Belgian champions last year, but found game time restricted, making just 10 appearances mostly from the bench, before he demanded a loan move to Lokeren in January. The loan deal has since expired and the striker is expected to return to his parent club.
There were hopes that he would try to reboot his career under Kompany, but even the arrival of a new coach is not motivation enough for the forward to return to Anderlecht.
Musona is currently thinking more about Cosafa and Afcon and hopes that his performance at international level will help shape his club career.
“At the moment, it is my time to enjoy playing for the national team where people appreciate and love me, where I play with a free spirit and a free mind because I know that people from my country love me.
“It’s always good to play when you feel that people love you when you play for them, and playing for the national team are the moments that I can safely say I feel proud of, because when I come and wear the jersey there is not much criticism. There is criticism, yes, but it is 90% people loving me against 10%. Where I am playing now (at Anderlecht), it’s vice versa so it’s something that I’m thinking like, okay, is it good for me to go back there and look forward to the new season or look for another club’ because I may never know what they have planned for me for the next season? I have to think about it after Afcon, but for now, this is my happy place.”
There are reports that other league teams in Belgium and France are monitoring the Smiling Assasin, while a return to Germany’s Bundesliga, where he also spent some frustrating time at Hoffeinheim, could be another possibility.
But Musona is pinning his hopes on making a show at the Afcon and hopes to impress many European scouts that are expected to descend on Cairo to watch the continental showpiece.
“I haven’t received any offers as yet because the window just opened and also when I left the season had just ended so we will see what happens. It is a long way to go. I believe if I go to Afcon and play good football for the national team, then the doors will open and other good opportunities may come,” he said.
But before he can think about the Afcon finals, Musona has the Cosafa Cup to think about. Tomorrow Zimbabwe face Zambia in the semi-finals of the regional championships at the Moses Mabhida Stadium with Musona expected to start in the Warriors attack, having made a substitute appearance in the team’s 2-0 victory over Comoros in the quarter-finals which Zimbabwe won 2-0 on Saturday.